MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday called into question President Rodrigo Duterte's immunity from suit after retired cop, SPO3 Arthur Lascañas, identified the chief executive as the mastermind behind the vigilante group, Davao Death Squad (DDS).
Lascañas, who was earlier named by self-confessed DDS hitman Edgar Matobato as the team leader of the DDS, admitted on Monday the existence of the group.
He said the DDS took its orders from the former Davao City mayor and that Duterte gave them P20,00 to P100,000 for every execution carried out.
"Itong revelation na ito na isa siyang psychotic serial killer, mass murder, covered po kaya ito ng presidential immunity? I don't think those who crafted the principle of presidential immunity... I don't think they had foreseen a situation na merong Pangulo na ganyan," De Lima said.
She said "extra-judicial killings, mass murders, and crimes against humanity" are considered high crimes which can be a ground for Duterte's impeachment.
The embattled lady senator, however, did not say whether an impeachment complaint would be filed against Duterte, or if she thought there was enough support in Congress for it.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella labelled De Lima's statement as "colorful language," and snubbed Lascañas' allegations, which he considers as mere political noise.
"We would not be responding to those allegations. If these things are truly valid, it should be brought to the proper court," Abella said.